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Pandemic Wreaking Financial Havoc On New Haven School Meals Program

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

New Haven school meals program faces upward of a $4 million deficit by the end of the fiscal year.

The program offers free, nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner to the 20,000 students in the district. The program must serve 10,000 meals daily to remain financially sound and receive reimbursements from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The city’s budget director Michael Gormany said efforts to expand the program during the pandemic have only brought the daily number to 3,000 meals.

New Haven school buildings have been closed since March 2020. Superintendent of Schools Iline Tracey announced on December 31 that the district would attempt to reopen schools to students in pre-K through fifth grade by January 19.

The proposed hybrid model, with some students attending school in-person on alternating days, could help increase the number of meals served. Students learning remotely are still eligible to pick up meals, and all families qualify for the program, regardless of need.